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Native Australian Stingless Bees

Native Australian Stingless Bees

Stingless Bees are the perfect pets for small kids & low hassle garden pollinators

If you live in Queensland, the Northern Territory, Western Australia, or the warmer areas of NSW, you are lucky enough to be within the natural geographic range of Australian stingless bees.

If you are allergic to European bee stings, have young sticky fingered children in small spaces or simply want a simple no fuss way of pollinating your garden, then Australian native bees might be for you. The hive is small, the bees don't sting (or not very much) and they are zealous pollinating agents, making them ideal in urban gardens.

The slight down side of stingless bees is the comparatively minute amount of honey they produce. About a kilo a year. The taste is quite different to the honey you would be used to buying from bee keepers and stores. And it is much darker and stronger.

I personally chose stingless bees because I live in an area populated with lots of children and nervous parents; I really wanted to have pollinators for my garden, and I didn't want to have to look after the hives. Every year or two, I split my hive with a friend or neighbour and apart from that, I really do no maintenance whatsoever.

If you do decide to get some stingless bees, it is useful to do a little research. Some hives like the Trigona hive below on the left from Sugarbag in Brisbane are good for splitting, but not so good for extracting honey - although the one on the right has a cavity for honey extraction.

These tiny little hives are around 280 x 200 and most boxes you will find for sale are versions of the design below.  (There are some producers like Beezotted however who make incredible sculptures that almost simulate the hollow trunk these bees live in the wild.)

If you live in a hot or colder area, you will need thicker, bigger hive boxes.  

The good news is that native bee sellers are a very caring lot, so the fastest way to a good decision is to listen to the advice of a local keeper like Bee Yourself Australia who will often sell you the hive in the first place and then help you split them as the years go by.  

Aussie Bee Website (hosted by The Australian Native Bee Research Centre) also has hundreds of photos and videos of native bee species and buckets of information if you want to do your research. 

Diagram: Tim Herd
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